New Mexico downs Air Force in Dallas dogfight

DALLAS, TEXAS (for some random reason): New Mexico finally shut down Jalen Robinette with less than a minute to play in the game.  The Falcons WR had totaled over half of Air Force’s receptions (6 of them), accumulating 169 yards and 1 TD.  However, with the game on the line and the Falcons needing a touchdown to win the game, the Lobos effectively shut Robinette down to hold on for the win.

The Lobos had not trailed for the entire game, and today the biggest success was not just defeating a good Air Force team, but more importantly, New Mexico learned finally how to close out a 4th quarter.  This was especially important since the offense fully stalled in the final segment, running 12 plays for 8 total yards.  Austin Apodaca, the first of two New Mexico’s starting quarterbacks, was back in the game for the second half, after missing the last two games with a bruised collarbone.  As he ran the offense, late in the third and for all of the fourth quarter, the rushes became more stalled and less fluid, allowing for Weston Steelhammer and the rest of the Zoomies front seven to penetrate the backfield.

As ineffective as Apodaca was, Lamar Jordan became his former self, completing 3/6 passes for 70 yrds and 2 TDs, while rushing for another 51 yards on 6 carries.  Teriyon Gipson and Tyrone Owens contributed for another 266 yards and 2 TDs on the ground, helping New Mexico’s variant of the triple option look much more effective than Air Force’s for the first three quarters.  To put it bluntly, the Lobos looked damn near unstoppable for a good part of the game, scoring 6 touchdowns on their first 7 drives of the game.

Troy Calhoun will quickly need to figure out how to get his defense aligned again, as the new and improved Hawaii Rainbow Warriors visit the next week.  The Zoomies were 4-0 just two weeks ago and were in consideration for the top of the Group of 5.  Now they are sitting in the bottom half of the Mountain Division with a sick feeling to the stomach.

New Mexico with this win have gotten back on track for bowl eligibility and should be able to handle Louisiana-Monroe next week.  Bob Davie’s next steps should be getting the defense to play 60 strong minutes, figuring out how to beat the rest of the division, and hoping that Boise State will fall to Air Force (again) so that they might be the ones to get a shot in the MWC Championship game.

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